While most students in the four-year-old PhD program in business administration at The University of Texas-Pan American were hunting down local summer internships, Mohammed Elahee, 30, was striving for something a little more unique.
For the past three years, Elahee has been attempting to intern at the World Bank in Washington D.C., a position many perceive as a highly prestigious opportunity.
"I really didn't think I had a chance, but I thought, what do I have to lose,'' Elahee said.
But after three years of applying and three years of rejection and time quickly running out, Elahee decided he would try one last time.
"I registered on the last day thinking I didn't have a chance, but a few weeks later I checked my e-mail and there it was, a message from the World Bank offering me the position," he said.
Elahee, originally from Bangladesh, was one of 60 students selected from the US, Canada, and a few European countries to participate in the 10-week internship program at the World Bank starting in June.
"My persistence paid off,'' Elahee said. "I'm a strong believer in that a person can accomplish anything once they put their mind to it."
Elahee will be working in the Knowledge Management Department developing partnerships between the World Bank and developing countries in helping privatized companies reabsorb trainee workers of former state-owned enterprises.
"I'm a little bit nervous, but very excited at the same time,'' Elahee said. "I expect to learn how to work in a world multi-cultural environment."
Elahee emigrated to Canada from Bangladesh several years ago to study for an MBA at the University of New Brunswick.
He later transferred to The University of Texas-Pan American, where he was one of the first students enrolled in the business administration doctoral program.
"I came here so I can become a specialist on Latin America," he said. "I realized that Latin America is one of the most booming regions of the emerging countries and is being integrated into the world economy.''
And while there are plenty of specialists on Western Europe and Asia, there aren't enough who focus on Latin America, he contends.
"When I started applying to PhD programs, I had admission to several universities, but I chose this one because of its emphasis on Latin America. As far as I knew at the time, this was the only university specializing in Latin America," Elahee said. Dr. Linda McCallister, dean of the College of Business Administration, said Elahee is one of the college's outstanding students.
"He hasn't even completed his dissertation yet and he is already receiving job offers. We are very fortunate to have him. He reflects well on our doctoral program," McCallister said. As soon as Elahee arrived from New Brunswick he said he began to learn the Spanish language.
"I'm semi-fluent and once I become fluent in Spanish, that will be my sixth language,'' he said. Elahee currently speaks Bangla, English, Urdu, Hindi and Arabic, and when his internship ends in August, he will be studying Spanish in Monterrey, Mexico.
Elahee plans to do his dissertation on cross-cultural negotiation behavior in Canada, Mexico and the US. "Hopefully when I have completed my studies, I will be able to find a job in the Southwest,'' Elahee said. "I really like the people, the culture and especially the Mexican food.''